Repent; the Hour Approacheth~

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Repent:
verb; ‘to feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing or sin.’

“Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17)

Repent is such an Old Testament word, right? We picture grizzled prophets, screeching at guilty sinners.That couldn’t be the heart of our sweet Jesus, could it?

Well actually, we’d be so wrong to think repentance isn’t of vital importance to Jesus. In some of His first recorded words in Scripture, Jesus appealed for people to “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” As He sent out His twelve disciples into the towns, villages, and countryside, “they went out and preached that people should repent” (Mark 6:12).

The message of His first followers, preached repeatedly throughout the book of Acts, was to “repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:38).

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“Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19–20).

And as it is written in (Acts 19:2) “He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” we may note that after we repent for the remission of our sins and are saved, the next step subsequent is the baptism of the Holy Ghost, with the evidence of speaking in a heavenly language or tongues;
“And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” (v. 6)

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Even in some of Jesus’ last words we find in the Bible, where He delivered His revelation to John the apostle, we hear Him saying to the churches, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen; and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and remove thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:5). “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten, be zealous therefore and repent” (Revelation 3:19).

Over and over He calls to those who will hear, Repent!! Repent!! Repent!!

So repentance; which is this recognition of sin for what it is, followed by a heartfelt sorrow culminating in a change of behavior: a conversion, sounds very much like the heart of our Jesus. And it’s not just a central message of the Bible; it’s the message of the Word Himself, coming to you today, urging and inviting you to repent …. Now …. Today!!

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Perhaps you sit in church, week after week, delighting in the salvation of lost people who are turning from their sin and receiving God’s forgiveness and redemption. You watch God move. Yet, it’s hard to truly rejoice in an amazing grace that you don’t really think you need anymore. It’s hard to experience the reality of being forgiven for all eternity when you’re not keeping yourself cleansed and refreshed through the sacrifice of a repentant heart …..

The windows of heaven are bursting with the grace and mercy that God showers upon the repentant. Heaven is leaning over the railing at this moment, wanting you to come to a fresh place of true and total honesty before God. The very thing you tend to push off and hold off; not wanting to deal with your sin, whether from being resistant to forsaking it or simply resigned to being defeated by it, is what heaven is longing to see and celebrate ….

Listen, believer: the awareness of personal sin, laid before Him in repentance, is what keeps the gospel glorious in your life. Repentance is not a place to visit when you get saved. Repentance is where you’re supposed to live as a believer, daily, every single day, returning again and again to the sanctifying power of Jesus Christ; the One and Only Way to be saved, the Only One who can cleanse and forgive you, and you are enabled by the Holy Ghost; the Only power that can overpower the sin that even now seeks to control you. Jesus’ heart is still very much about calling you to repentance, and through it, to freedom, and the blood still flows, as does His mercy and His grace ….

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In conclusion, is Christ calling you to repentance today? Know that there are no alternatives to living without repentance. Without His cleansing blood and the remittance, that is to say, forgiveness of your sins, you cannot be saved by any other means. You cannot make heaven your home by simply being a “good person” or your good works, nor can you earn it. Jesus confirmed that fact when He said, “for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5).
There are no good people in heaven — only forgiven ones ….

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“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.”
(Lamentations 3:21-26)

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“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David…. Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will hacy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:1-7)

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Let us pray ~

Lord God; I humbly come right now and I repent. I don’t want to delay any longer. I admit my to You my stubborn willful heart. I’m sorry for all of my sins, even the secret ones. I’m sorry for being unkind and unforgiving towards others. I need changing and I know I need You. Thank You for making humility and repentance the only gateways to spiritual victory. I know my self-righteousness is as filthy rags before You and I thank You for not abiding it without calling me to account for it. I come to you with thankfulness for Your mercy and Your grace, and for Your patience in waiting for me as I grow in the knowledge of Your Word. I desire that You would fill and refresh me with the Holy Ghost, and set my feet upon the path that You have called me to. Thank You for sending Your beloved Son, Who in His great love and infinite mercy gave Himself for me that I might live. All this I pray in Jesus’ holy name, Amen ….

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Taking Captives

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Have you ever been taunted by toxic thoughts?
I know I have ….

“No one really likes you” ….

“Who are you to think you could do that??” ….

“You are so ugly, who could ever love you” ….

“You’re so inadequate” ….

“You’ll never be good enough” …

I have had those self-destructive thoughts in my mind for years. I hated those thoughts. And I know they are NOT from God. God is not out to destroy me, the enemy is. The enemy has come to kill, steal, and destroy, yet Jesus has come to give us life and life more abundantly (John 10:10).

I have tried the ‘psychology’ fixes to change my thoughts. I have done the whole ‘psych meds’ trip. I have read almost every self-help book out there. But that did not quiet the thoughts in my head. Nothing has helped dissipate those voices or diminish those thoughts.
The only thing that has renewed my mind and shut up those destructive thoughts is the Word of God ….

Think of your house. You don’t let just any old person in do you? Just because they come to the door does not mean they get to come in and sit down on your couch and move in, right?

Well, the same is true with our thoughts. Just because a thought comes to the door does not mean we have to let it in, much less take up residence and live rent-free in our heads ….

Every thought we get to ‘take captive’ and test. We do this by asking ourselves:

Is that thought true?

Is that thought what God says about me?

Is that thought out to destroy me?

If it is not true, or destructive, we can close the door and not let it in our house. Instead we can think on good things. God says we are good …. God says we are fearfully and wonderfully made …. God says that He has a plan for us and He will never leave us or forsake us ….
God speaks Truth, and those thoughts bouncing around are LIES. Don’t let them in ….

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That is how we renew our minds and heal our mental afflictions; one thought at a time with the Word of God.

“And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:23-24)

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”
(2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  (Romans 12:2)

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Why do we let such destructive words fall hard on our souls? Toxic thoughts are so dangerous because they leave no room for truth to flourish. And in the absence of truth, lies will reign ….

One day I was discussing something with my daughter and I said, “I know you think I’m being annoying and overly protective about this but …”

She stopped me and said, “How do you know that’s what I’m thinking? Please don’t hold me liable for saying things that are really only thoughts in your mind.”

Wow…. She’s so right. She hadn’t said those things. I was assuming she was thinking them and operating as if those toxic thoughts were reality ….

I have had this happen on more than one occasion. I assume someone thinks or feels a certain way about or towards me based on the voices in my head. I think maybe we girls do this way too often. People aren’t thinking about us and assessing us nearly as much as we think they are.

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As Christian women, we should hold our thoughts to a higher standard. How dare these runaway thoughts be allowed to simply parade about as if they are true and manipulate us into feeling insecure, inadequate and misunderstood! Oh how much trouble we invite into our lives based on assumptions. But God’s Word instructs us:

“Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
(Philippians 4:6-9)

This is probably a passage you’ve read before. But, have you thought of applying it to your every thought — especially the toxic ones?

It’s time to start taking captives. The mind feasts on what it focuses on. What consumes our thinking will be the making or breaking of our identity ….

Reality truly is a perception. What we think, feel, or dwell on becomes our reality, whether it is true or even factual? That’s why we need to think on, ponder and then park our minds on constructive thoughts — not destructive thoughts. Thoughts that build up, not tear down. Thoughts that breathe life into us, not drain the life from us. Thoughts that lead to goodness, not anxiety ….

So, here are three important questions we’d do well to ask ourselves when thoughts are dragging us down ….

1. Did someone actually say this or am I assuming they are thinking it?

If they actually said it, deal with it then. If I’m assuming it, that’s unfair to them and unnecessarily damaging to me. Instead of staying anxious, I need to seek truth by seeking God and asking Him for His peace …

“Be anxious for nothing”
(v.6)

2. Have I been actively engaging with truth lately?

The more we read God’s truths and let truth fill our mind, the less time we’ll spend contemplating untruths. Thinking runaway, worrisome thoughts invites anxiety. Thinking thoughts of truth wraps my mind in peace and helps me rise above my circumstances …

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds.” ~ (v.7)

3. Are certain situations or friendships feeding my insecurities?

If so, maybe I need to take a break from these for a season. Perhaps I need to seek friendships that are characterized by truth, honor and love ….

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (v.8)
Think on things above and not below ~

I know this is tough stuff. I know these issues can be more complicated than three simple questions. Often we are prisoners of our own minds. But it’s a good place to start; and it’s truly the only way to achieve resolution and be restored; which is to begin holding our thoughts accountable, and become ready to be free ….

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After all, how a woman thinks is often how she lives. May we think upon and live out truth — and only truth today. Have negative thoughts been weighing you down recently? Let us follow Paul’s instructions and cast down all those vain imaginations that would attempt to hold us hostage …

Let us pray ~

Father, we are told to consider the wonderful way that You provide for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, knowing that we, who are Your children, are so much more precious to You than they are. Why do I become anxious, when I know that all I have to do is to trust You at Your Word….? Why do I spend so much of my time worrying about so many things in life…?
I know that You have promised to be our Healer, our Provider, our Shepherd and our Peace; and You have been these and so much more to me, and yet Lord, still I am prone to anxiety and fretting ….

Help me Lord to take captive each anxious thought that crosses my mind before it arises in my heart, and may I give it over to You; as You have instructed. Help me to, “take these thoughts captive..” the moment they pass like a shadow across my heart, and hand it over to Jesus, instead of allowing it to revolve around my mind, causing obsession and anxiety in my soul to increase ….

Help me to consider the birds of the air and the flowers of the field – and the heavens and the earth and all that You have made by the strength of Your mighty power; knowing that Your same mighty power is available to all Who trust in Christ as Saviour. Help me to consider Jesus and all He did for me at Calvary and remember that as He overcame the world, I too can overcome all these accusing thoughts and memories. In Jesus name, Amen ….

Called to Serve ~

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“But Jesus called them unto Him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.”
(Matthew 20:25-27).

The mother of James and John once approached Jesus with a bold, impertinent request: “Grant that these my two sons may sit, one on thy right hand and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom” (Matthew 20:21). To which Jesus responded; with the understatement of the ages—“Ye know not what ye ask” (Matthew 20:22).

Yet, what she was asking for, in asking for greatness, was not entirely wrong, even though she’d obviously gone about it in the wrong way …..

How often do we ask, plead, or pray for a thing, and we have no clear understanding of what we are really asking??
We are taught in (James 4) that we have not what we ask for because our motives are wrong: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (v. 3)

To want greatness is our God-given destiny. He has placed a desire deep within our hearts to do something great with our lives, to make a difference in the world, to possess a vital purpose, to live for something that will last, to be a part of something bigger. Wanting greatness is not the problem. Greatness is what He wants for us, too. The problem is primarily how we think we get there ….

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Greatness, in the world’s estimation, is achieved by things like being in charge or being the best at something. Certain jobs or positions are considered synonymous with greatness: presidents, leaders, star athletes and entertainers, positions of power and authority; anything really that’s likely to win acclaim, notice, and applause. These are considered great ….

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Nowhere in Jesus’ answer to this gutsy mother, her two boys, or the other ten disciples is the notion that greatness is undesirable. We just need to go after it the right way: not by striving to be prominent and recognized, or to appease our fleshly desires, but by seeking to serve first and foremost ….

“Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister.” (v. 26)

If your Christian life feels like nothing but dry duty and obligation today, it may be because you’ve stopped seeking to serve. If you’re not growing spiritually the way you once did, when faith was newer and seemingly more exciting, it may be because you’ve stopped seeking to serve. If you’re obsessed with what other people think of you and always craving more recognition, it may be because you’ve stopped seeking to serve. You’ve been thinking there’s another way to experience greatness. But I tell you in all love, there’s not. There’s only service, and that is through obedience ….

Serving Christ makes all of life come into perspective. The momentum of action reenergizes your heart, reversing what’s calcified into blandness and boredom. The choice to serve the Lord is one of the single most important decisions you will ever make. When you realize that daily Christian living is not Jesus serving you, but you serving Jesus, it changes your whole incentive and outlook. Your perception will be altered when this concept truly grips your heart …..

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“Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (20:26-28).

Greatness is yours for the taking. But only by giving.
If you want to be great; which you should; choose to serve. Choose to give. No sacrifice is too great in light of the sacrifice that Jesus gave for You. Christ must be the supreme center of your life ….

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“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:3-8)

In summary, what’s an obstacle that works against your desire to serve God and others? Think about this: what is one specific way you could serve today?

Let us pray ~

Father, thank You for creating us with dignity as Your image bearers, and for providing daily opportunities to experience greatness for Your Kingdom in Your service. I ask today that You would open my eyes to the people and the places that You would have me serve. Show me again, Lord, that I would have abundant life in serving You and losing myself for You. I give myself to You to be used for Your service, in whatever way You want to use me Lord. Let the words of my mouth, the actions of my body, and the meditations of my heart bring glory and honor to You alone. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen ….

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Miracles ~

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My life is a miracle …. I am a walking miracle …..

Speaking of miracles; how had Jesus accomplished the miracle of the feeding of five thousand with just five loaves and two fish?

Well, the formula is really quite simple:

The disciples gave it all…

Jesus took it all…

God blessed it all….

Jesus broke it all…

Jesus supplied it all…

And … the entire multitude was fed ….

This simple formula is one I am learning to follow daily, and every single day ….

Jesus is teaching me to give all that I am, as well as all that I have, which often isn’t much, but when I am obedient in doing this, He supplies all of my needs. Yep, every one of them, and often He surprises me with even the unspoken desires or “wants” that I have not even asked for. He’s just that way: He delights in giving us the desires of our hearts when we delight ourself in Him (Psalm 37:4).

We just have to trust Him. His Word says, “the young lions do lack, and suffer hunger, but they that seek the Lord shall not want ANY good thing.” (Psalm 34:10). The prior verse also says, we should fear the Lord because “there is no want to those who fear Him.”

I am a just a simple widow woman with a very simple life. Pretty much the same routine daily, which I love and am quite comfortable with; I cook, I clean my little home, I do laundry, I water my plants and flowers, I feed the little birds that come to my yard daily, and I go to church: a LOT …. I pray and study the Word a LOT ….

I have a very limited education and no formal seminary training or Bible schooling. I have a shy, timid personality that tends to be painfully self-conscious and often quite insecure. So, believe me when I say having given all to Jesus, I assure you that I make the original five loaves and two fish look plentiful indeed! I don’t have much, yet, I get by because of His mercy and His grace. And what I do have and every single thing that comes my way in the form of a blessing, I give right back to Him! I am now and forever will be grateful because I have been blessed and am ever humbled for His mercy and His grace to use someone like me …

What I DO have is an intense longing to know God, and that longing has given me an insatiable hunger and desire to know His Word: for myself.

When I gave it all to Jesus, He accepted it! He has acknowledged that I am not enough in myself to meet anyone else’s need. Yet, He has blessed what I have given Him triple fold. He has broken and rearranged it to suit Himself until I knew my resources were even more inadequate than I had even thought, and yet, He has given me insights into Him and His Word that only He and the Holy Ghost could give ….

Every morning I ask myself, “Lord, who is my multitude? Who are the ones that you want me to feed today, and who are hungry for your Word”? What shall I speak …. what would you have me to post?

I ask you today, what are your “loaves and your fish”? What are your limited or inadequate resources that you have? Did you know that if all you ever attempt is that which you know that you can do, or have resources for, how will you ever discover what He can do? He has given each of US a gift, that has nothing to do with money. We can perform “miracles” and feed the brethren, with talents and resources that we may never even know that we have ….
Wouldn’t you like to experience the thrill of participating with Him in the miracle of feeding others with what you have … that which you’ve received from Him, and in doing so, find out that it is enough to satisfy their hunger? Many don’t even realize they’re hungry until they get a taste ….

I tell you honestly, you can not know how God will use what you think is little, and will multiply it to achieve His divine purpose in the lives of others. Its simple …. You must be willing, and you must be obedient, especially when He speaks for you to do a thing that looks impossible or you think that you can’t ….

I assure you, absolutely NO ONE is irredeemable or unable to be used by God to perform miracles in the lives of others. And all changes anyone makes in their life, no matter how small, is a miracle, and not insignificant to God ….

I am a survivor turned Warrior. I have had curses upon me since birth and existed in the shadow of those curses — believing them and living them out by my own poor choices. Incest and trauma survivor, in severe drug addiction and homelessness for most of my life, five suicide attempts, and endured more degradation and horrific experiences than could fill the perimeter of these pages. Therefore, please don’t limit yourself or limit God by accessing yourself as unacceptable or unworthy to be used by God to achieve miraculous feats. Your past does not define you …. Remember: God chooses the foolish things to confound the wise as it is written: “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.”
(1 Corinthians 1:27-29)

Jesus told us in (John 14:12),
“I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”

Therefore, you must realize that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, healed the sick, made the blind to see, and fed multitudes with just a meager amount of food; this same power is alive and working in YOU ~ if you abide in Him and He abides within you …. As it is written, He is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20).

You can be an effective witness by your testimony to reach others that may not have been reached by any other means. You can “feed” the Word, and write encouraging, inspiring, messages of hope that may cause another soul to give their life to Christ while sitting alone at a computer desk in a corner of their house. YOU may be the one someone out there is waiting on and needing to hear a word from. Do not doubt your ability to be used by God to “feed” a multitude!

I can promise you that whom He calls, He equips. All that is required is a willingness to listen for His voice, follow His guiding, and the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and have the obedience to do and say what He leads you to. He will do the rest ….

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

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God bless you this week. Ask Jesus whom He would desire you to feed this week and follow through. Pay it forward …..

“I will extol thee, O Lord; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.
O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness. For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.
Lord, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled. I cried to thee, O Lord; and unto the Lord I made supplication. What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth? Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me: Lord, be thou my helper. Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.”
(Psalms 30)

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Wise and Harmless ~

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“Why would you …?”

When someone else begins a conversation with those accusatory words, there is so much potential there ….
Once they’re uttered, I’ll hold all the power. I have the choice to lean into my natural instincts or control my tendency to let pride take over and allow the fruit of the Spirit to flow in me …..

While praying in the Holy Ghost, the Spirit brought this morning’s reading to my mind. I was challenged by parts of Moses and Aaron’s stories in the book of Numbers ….

After scoping out the new land God had promised them, all except two of Moses’ spies brought back a terrible report. They returned defeated before the takeover plan could even begin. Allowing fear and ungratefulness to overflow onto everyone they encountered, the spies spilled out fear on all the Israelites:

“But the men that went up with him said, we be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.
And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.
And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” (Numbers 13:31-33)

Soon, the entire camp was in a rebellious uproar. They demanded to know why they couldn’t return to Egypt, where they’d been enslaved for centuries. They directed their wrath straight at their leaders: Moses and Aaron (Numbers 14:1-4).

As I read this passage, I didn’t feel contempt for the Israelites. Instead, I saw myself as one of them. I’ve been the complaining consumer of God’s goodness before, on more than one occasion ….

What I felt instead was awe, seeing Moses and Aaron’s response:
“Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.” (Numbers 14:5)

When I feel attacked, my normal response is not to fall on my knees and begin praying. Oh no! I might sometimes be explosive with my words and actions, allowing my flesh and emotions to rule me, and my mind often builds a defense strong enough for a courtroom. All my energy goes into self-preservation.

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Yet that’s not what I see in Moses and Aaron. Instead, I see humility ….
And I see God respond to these men who didn’t immediately choose to defend themselves and their actions, but instead turned to God:
“But all the congregation bade stone them with stones. And the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel.
And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?” (vs. 10-11)

Moses and Aaron could have chosen the natural human response: build a case, then put people in their place. But no, instead, they chose humility. And God not only defended them, He came into their presence ….

Moses and Aaron remind me that a posture of humility brings God’s presence to my problem.
If not today, or this very week, sometime soon you and I will experience someone’s spill of emotions. As those words begin to burn, like Moses and Aaron, we’ll have a choice. Yes, there is always a choice in everything in life. Action = Reaction ….

And therefore, we can rise up in anger and self-defense, letting them have what they deserve ….
Or this: We can “choose” to humble ourselves and let God come to our defense.

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Know this: one reaction has an immediate emotional release. We feel better short-term, getting feelings off our chest and onto the “enemy.” But long-term, there will be consequences. There are always consequences. Because of free will, we are always free to choose, yet however, we are not free from whatever the fallout may be, that is to say; we aren’t free to avoid the consequences or outcome of any of our choices; whether good or poor ….

When we choose humility, we pay the price of self-control up front, but it opens the way for God to defend us and brings His peace to our situation. Only through the power of the Holy Ghost working through us can we bypass the natural to choose His supernatural response. This is when we reap the beautiful results of the fruits of the Spirit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galations 5:22-23)

I’d like to say this choice is simple, even easy. But that’s simply not true. Looking at heroes of the faith like Moses and Aaron challenges me: I can exude the fruit of the Spirit if I’ll make the hard choice and choose humility. Yes, I won’t lie; sometimes that is a difficult pill to swallow, and sometimes I fall short of that which would be pleasing to my Lord ….

However, we have the beautiful promise found in (1 John 2:1-2) which says, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

How comforting to know that Jesus is always pleading our case and doesn’t condemn us when we err in our judgments. As it is written: “Who is He that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” (Romans 8:34).

We have the assurance from our Heavenly Father that there “is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1), and that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).

In closing today, let me encourage you. If and when you should encounter those people who would rub your wrong this week; those who irritate, push your buttons, and outright attack; remember to pause and pray before you react. Allow the Holy Ghost to bring those things to your mind that are the necessary virtues needed to implement the fruit and love of the Spirit ….

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The Holy Ghost wants to transform us into people who reflect God Himself in everything we do and say, and only by the power given of the Holy Ghost can we achieve this (Acts 1:8).
How do Moses and Aaron’s actions impact the way you think of defending yourself in any given situation … Is there a relationship in your life that challenges you in responding with humility? Ask the Lord to empower you to respond in a way that invites His presence into the relationship ….

Be mindful to love as Jesus would, which is to say abundantly pardon, and remember His words: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”

“As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”
(Romans 8:37-38).

“By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life.” (Proverbs 22:4).

“I therefore, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3).

Let us pray ~

Loving Lord and Heavenly Father; I thank You that I am Your child, and I pray that my life may become so saturated with Christ Jesus, that the fruit of the Spirit may grow and develop in my life to Your praise and glory.
However I am treated by other people, I pray that Your love may shine forth in me. Whatever happens in my life, I ask that Your peace and joy would abide within. No matter what difficulties I may encounter in life, teach me to be patient and kind in all my dealings with others and manifest the goodness and grace in me that only comes from You my Lord. However hard times may become I pray that I may be gentle and self-controlled in my actions and attitudes and that I may be a good and faithful servant. Lord I thank You that no matter what happens, even when I step away from You, You remain faithful and patient with me. Lord I know that I cannot develop the fruit of Your Holy Spirit through my own effort or will, but only as I rest and abide in Jesus. Help me to abide in You I pray. Holy Spirit; empower me to respond from a place of humility, thereby allowing You to control me and not my emotions. Open my eyes to see; that when I, like Moses and Aaron, need to fall facedown and understand Your heart before I spill out my own upon others. All this I pray in Jesus name, Amen ….

He Speaks ~

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Good Morning Saints …..

Have you ever wondered if God is speaking and perhaps you’re just missing out? How can you recognize His voice among the noise and many other voices clamoring around in your head?

Throughout human history God has been speaking to mankind in various ways. His prophets and apostles were moved by the Holy Spirit, both to proclaim and to write His words, but His ultimate expression came through the birth of His Son Jesus Christ ….

Today, most believers acknowledge that God speaks primarily through Scripture, yet, they fail to hear the audible voice of the Lord, however, the voice that dictated the Holy Bible has not ceased. Through the Holy Ghost, the Lord still communicates to every Christian who chooses to listen with an open and receptive heart ….

As Jesus told us, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26).

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It is vital that we have the Holy Ghost, especially in these perilous times we are entering in, that we may be empowered with strength and courage to fight the battles, and stand firm in our foundation under severe persecution, and these times are upon us and will come moreso in degrees we can not even yet imagine ….

How could Stephen have been plummeted by stone after stone, and yet still cry out “forgive them” withstand that pain and still stand firm? Because he was filled with the Spirit:  “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55).

And let us not forget Peter; who was timid and afraid, who was so scared of being identified as a believer and follower and being killed that he denied ever knowing Him; yet, and yes, there’s a yet, later after he received the baptism of fire on the day of Pentecost, and being filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues (Acts 2:1-4), he was so dramatically changed that he boldly began to preach the gospel message into the synagogues and temples, often calling out the hypocrites and scribes. This transformation would not have been possible without the Holy Ghost ….

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Example after example are throughout the New Testament. All of our apostles were prime examples of courage under fire, of the power and ability of the Holy Ghost to be effective witnesses and to remember everything that Jesus had said and taught them. They didn’t have the liberty to pull out a bible and look up a scripture; it was all written on their hearts and brought to their remembrance at the necessary times by the Spirit, in which they were atuned to hear His voice ….

As well we need the provided discernment to know our Shepherd’s voice, because our adversary, the devil, also has a voice. He speaks as well, and often it is easier to listen and hear his voice, and fall into his leading …..

However, when we receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost and He is indwelling us, we will hear His voice, as Jesus foretold: “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (John 16:13-14).

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We can see in these passages that the Holy Ghost “speaks, reveals truth, and brings Jesus’ Words to our memory”….

It is written that God’s voice is as a “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12). The point of God speaking in the still small voice was to show Elijah that the work of God nor His voice need not always be accompanied by dramatic revelation or manifestations. Divine silence does not always necessarily mean divine inactivity. God is always working on our behalf, and always speaking if we have a heart and mind open and receptive to listen and hear …

(Zechariah 4:6) tells us that God’s work is “not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” meaning that overt displays of power are not necessary for God to work. Because He is God, He is not confined to a single manner of communicating with His people. He speaks in many ways, if we open to hear, and often to see as well. We can see God speaking to us just as well as hearing. He uses many outlets to speak to His children, including speaking through others …

Elsewhere in Scripture, God announced His presence by an earthquake (Exodus 19:18), and to speak in a voice that sounded like thunder and lightening (Job 37:1-9). Also He is said to communicate through a whirlwind (Job 38:1).
And in (Revelation 4:5), we’re told that “lightning and thunder proceed from the throne in heaven.”

So we may see that God speaks in a myriad of ways, both in the natural and supernatural form, yet God is not limited to natural phenomena when He speaks. All through Scripture, He speaks through His prophets over and over. The common thread in all the prophets is the phrase, “Thus saith the Lord.” and He spoke through the writers of Scripture, as it is written: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Most graciously, however, He speaks through His Son, the Lord Jesus. The writer to the Hebrews opens his letter with this truth: “God, who at sundry times and in divers (different) manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son.”

The difference between God speaking through the thunder and the whirlwind, and then through the still, small voice, can be also considered as showing the difference between the two dispensations of law and grace. The law was a voice of harsh words and was given amidst a tempest of wind, thunder, and lightning, attended by an earthquake, but the gospel is a gentle voice of love, grace, and mercy; of peace, pardon, righteousness, and the free gift of salvation through Christ. The law breaks the rocky hearts of men in pieces, shakes their consciences, and fills their minds with a sense of God’s fiery wrath and the punishment they deserve, and then the gospel speaks gently to them of the peace and pardon available to all in Christ Jesus …

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It is less important how God speaks to us, than if we are open to hearing and what we do with what He says. God speaks most clearly to us in this day through His Word. And the more we study it, meditate upon it, and learn it, the more ready we will be to recognize His voice when He speaks, and the more likely we are to obey what we hear ….

“See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused Him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now He hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this Word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:25-29)

Consider the wonder of having a God who speaks; not a distant deity who thunders orders and admonishments from heaven, but one who actually wants to have a conversation with you!
And why, you ask? Well just consider the following:
God loves you and desires a relationship with you.
He wants to you to know Him personally through intimate communication.
He longs to encourage you to trust Him, and as you experience the fulfillment of His words, your faith begins to grow.
He wants to guide you, and has a good and divine purpose for your life. He is willing to direct your decisions and steps that you may experience all that He has planned for you always ….

In the hustle and bustle of your daily lives, it’s very easy to take for granted this invaluable privilege of communication with God. Take time this week away from the distractions to listen to the God who wants to talk with you more than anything …. His ears are always open, and He is ever trying to get our attention. Will you listen a little more intently today ….

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Let us pray ~

Heavenly Father, how we thank You for our salvation, which You have given to us as a free gift of grace by faith in the Lord Jesus. Thank You also that Your Holy Spirit has made me alive in Him and placed me into the family of God and the body of Christ.
I Thank You that He has set His seal of ownership upon me and taken up residence within my heart as to empower me in my spiritual walk, as He gradually transforms me into a lovely likeness of the Lord Jesus Himself.
I pray that the Holy Spirit would lead and guide in all things, and that I would learn to listen to the gentle promptings of His voice as I read Your Word or commune with You in prayer. Give me grace to recognize His still small voice as I search though the scriptures each day and furnish me with the wisdom I need to discern Your spiritual nudges, through godly Christians, who may be prompted to offer direction or give me advice.
May I maintain an open heart and develop a teachable spirit, and I pray that may I walk in Your ways and live a life that is well pleasing to You.. and which glorifies my Father in heaven, I ask this in Jesus name, Amen ….

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